Sunday, 15 May 2016


Plein Air Painting
10" x 8" Canson Board

Plein Air painting is so challenging, but it also produces some amazing work. Last year was the first time I had been part of the OPUS OUTDOOR CHALLENGE and I was very dissatisfied with my painting. It was so hot and I had never painted a yellow flowering tree before, so my painting was a disaster. This year I reluctantly signed up, but didn't really want to go. I finally resolved to not make it about winning a prize, but to enjoy the process and let whatever happens, happen.

Although there are rules, such as a mapped area to paint in, a certain size, and an approved white surface, the rest is fairly relaxed. The odds are fairly good at winning something, as there are nine prizes spread among the age groups and over twenty sponsored raffle prizes given out at the end of the day. I decided to focus on finishing early before it got really hot and return for the awards.

This year was cooler and very beautiful. I decided to head down to the waterfront along with most of the other contestants. Not willing to struggle with acrylic, I took my little Koi watercolor box and some pens, but at the last minute I threw together a set of Golden Open Acrylics just in case.

I was excited about trying my new Art Boards. I love Canson Arches for my pet portraits, but I've never used it for landscapes. A few weeks ago I treated myself to three 8" x 10" blocks of 10 boards, intending to practice for the comp., but I still hadn't tried them out. I chose Multi Media, Watercolor and Canva. They say the surface doesn't need any prep which suits me.

After getting a number and button at the booth, I headed straight down to "The Sails" a now famous Kelowna landmark, by Dow Reid. Not the best if I intended to win because it's one of the top local choices, however I had never painted the sculpture and I'm always looking for touristy scenes for my gallery, art cards and Skyway. I found a parking spot with a good view of the artwork and I could have painted from the car, but I loaded up my art walker and got a bit closer. As you see, I had a few things blocking my view including another artist, but I was in the shade and a few steps to one side and I had a perfect view to make corrections.

I knew I wanted a bright painting with flowing strokes, so once my gear was set up I launched right into it. My brush flowed, the Golden Open Flowed, the wind blew, the insects flew, the pine tree kept firing pine cones and debris my way, but I was undaunted. In an hour and a half I had a completed painting. I headed back to the booth, handed in the wet painting (Open Acrylics take a while to dry) and went home for lunch.

In case you're wondering, I didn't win a prize, but the experience was far more enjoyable than last year.